Monday, August 31, 2015

Rockingham County--Check!

Today Scott and I completed our assignment to capture the documents for all the probate files from Rockingham County which began in 1860 and ended in 1918.  With the completion of the project we have opened 18,918 probate files and we took a total of 436,242 pictures.  WOO HOO!!!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Missionary Moments #52--Aug 30, 2015

One year ago on Tuesday of this week we will have been missionaries for one year.  What an amazing year it has been and what great blessings we have received during that time.  

Yesterday we went to the Joseph Smith Memorial for a luncheon with all the senior couples in our mission.  One set of missionaries are single sisters.  Very impressive and inspiring to realize they accepted the call and then received assignments that put them together for 18 months and they had never met before.  It is easy to see the bond that has developed between the two of them.  Many of the missionaries work at the memorial serving as guides and others that work there maintain the grounds which are indescribably beautiful.  One of the couples work at Camp Joseph which is for girls camps, boy scout camps, and other ward activities. The rest of the missionaries work mostly in branches in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire supporting the members of the branch.  The mission president and his wife along with two other couples who work in the office were also with us.  The Adams (relatives of Christian) have received a new assignment and they will now be training and working with the missionaries so the missionaries can teach their new converts to search out their ancestors and take their names to the temple for baptism within three months of their own baptism.  We are the only record preservation missionaries here although we have had the opportunity to meet with the Dukes who serve in Boston doing record preservation.  It was a great day and after we ate each missionary couple was asked to share some experience they have had while serving.  It was wonderful to hear so many inspiring stories.  One of the sisters called them "tender mercies" and I had to agree.  We have been a recipient of tender mercies so many times since we arrived here in Concord.  When Scott shared for us he told them that one of the highlights for him has been teaching the Sunday School class to the 14-17 year olds and how impressed he was with those students and how we have grown to love them.  It is true!  After the various reports we received a special treat when one of the Elders got up and shared a poem he had written about serving a mission.  He was introduced as the "Cowboy Poet" and the description was appropriate because the words were wonderful as he shared his testimony in poetry.  

It has been so interesting to realize that life continues to go on for each of you even though we aren't there!  Can you imagine that?  We celebrated two birthdays and two anniversaries this month.  We heard about Perry's week in training for the BYU Marching Band in which he is one of 17 Tuba players and practiced from 8 in the morning until 10 at night for one week and although he said it was hard he also said it was so much fun.  We hear of Rachel getting ready to move to Salt Lake to begin her studies at the LDS business college.  We enjoyed pictures on Aunt Amy's blog with pictures of Ruth celebrating her birthday this week.  We heard about Caleb and Ava enjoying another season of soccer.   We know that Owen started on the tennis team for one last year and Miriam has been enjoying being on the golf team at her school.   Lincoln continues to earn merit badges even though he has already earned his Eagle and that Ellis is getting ready to begin his final phase as he starts on his Eagle project.  You are all so busy and so impressive.  I have loved sharing these moments.  I think they have been even sweeter because right now we only imagine all the great experiences you are having.  We know that in the blink of an eye our mission will end and we will again share first hand those happy experiences. Right now we are looking forward to seeing Bill and Bev in September and in October we will get to spend time with Kent and Becky.  So grateful for the gospel and so thankful for a wonderful family.  Have a great week. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Norman Rockwell Museum

When we left Old Sturbridge Village we headed west to Stockbridge, Massachusetts to see the art of Norman Rockwell.  What a treat!  The area was beautiful where the museum and his art studio is located although he actually lived in downtown Stockbridge with his family.  They told us that on the day they moved his art studio all of the school children got to come out and watch as it was driven by.  We enjoyed the movie which gave a little overview of his life and then wandered around the area looking at many of his wonderful pictures.  I was surprised how emotional I got as I looked at the pictures that he had painted. They all just speak to your heart.
The museum

After visiting the museum and gift shop (!) we headed over to his studio.  I think that was my favorite part of our time there because we met a woman who as a child had been one of his models for the paintings he did. She said that almost everyone in Stockbridge were in one or another of his pictures. She told many stories about him and his paintings.  My favorite story was about his wife.  She died in 1959 and he had planned to put her in a special picture he was painting.  When he made the picture he put his wife in the picture holding a grandbaby because the thing she most looked forward to was being a grandmother.  How can I not love Norman Rockwell?
This was his art studio

Old Sturbridge Village

Our Saturday adventure this weekend took us back in time to the early 1800s where a rural village was recreated.  There were many wonderful historians and artisans who made the experience come alive.  As we walked about I tried to imagine the adults and children going about their daily life.  The sounds of children playing, the commands of the farmers to their horses and oxen, the laughing, the scolding, and the calling of mothers for their children to come home as the day was coming to a close.  It felt good to be there and well worth the drive.
Small Family Home


Another Family Home



Farm House

Visiting in the Garden

Pottery Shop

Pottery Artisan


Old Glass Factory

These girls had a great time pumping the well
Covered Bridge

Saw Mill

Blacksmith Shop

Cooper Shop

Happy Birthday Caleb!

It is hard to believe that just a year ago Grandpa and I celebrated your birthday party in our backyard and then when it ended we got into the car and drove away to start our mission.  I hope you have a wonderful day little guy.  You are the cutest four year old I know and you bless all of us because you are in our family.  You are a wonder.  You work hard, you play hard, you enjoy your life and we enjoy you.  I hear that you are becoming a very enthusiastic soccer player and that is exactly what I would have thought would happen.  It is sweet to see how much you love your family.  I hope this year will be full of fun for you and for your family. Happy Birthday Caleb!

Happy Birthday Ruth!

You are growing up so quickly.  It won't be long before people are going to be calling you when they need a good babysitter, you are heading off to girls' camp, and Junior High will be just around the corner!  You are such a joy Ruth and I love your kind and gentle heart.  Your smile will always light up any room you enter.  How lucky you are to live with your four best friends--Jane and Eden, Lincoln and Duncan.  You will always be so important to both of your sisters and even better you will always be an example that they will be able to follow.  I love hearing that you are cooking with your mom, reading like crazy, swimming like a fish, working hard in school, and dancing like a diva.  Keep up the good work. Happy Birthday Ruth!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Missionary Moments #51--Aug 23, 2015

What a great week this has been.  We took 4,352 pictures from one probate file which was quite interesting.  I looked her up on google to see if I could find out anything about her but only found where she was buried.  Her legacy (in money only) was still being shared with her posterity in 1981.  I hope her family used the money she left to them for many good things. On Tuesday we took time off from the archives and drove the sister missionaries down to the Boston Temple where we enjoyed a wonderful session.  On the way home we asked them where they would like to have lunch and they asked if we knew where the Chic-fil-a was in Nashua.  We did!  I wish you could have been in the car when they saw the sign for it.  They both squealed (literally!) for delight.  We had a wonderful lunch together and even bought some chicken nuggets to take home and share with the Elders.  It was a wonderful day.  We headed back to work after we dropped them off and got a couple of hours of work in so the day ended well.  It took us three days to captures all of the pictures from our big file and we both high-fived each other when it was done.  You learn in doing record preservation to celebrate whenever you can! 

Yesterday we had a great time visiting Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts and then continued west to Stockbridge where we spent over a delightful hour enjoying the Norman Rockwell museum.  I have always loved his paintings and I would put him right up with my other favorite artist Carl Bloch. Be sure to check the blog to see some of the great pictures of both of our activities yesterday.  I wish all of you could have come to visit us because this area is just so amazing and full of wonderful history.  I saw on Facebook where they will be dedicating the Priesthood Restoration area in Pennsylvania next month.  I wish it would have been a one day trip so we could go and enjoy seeing that.  The high adventure activity for our young men in the stake was canoeing down the Susquehanna River to that spot where they enjoyed a special experience recognizing the blessing they have been given to have the Priesthood.   When I got the mail I was excited because we got a copy of the Yankee magazine. It has an article about the "Seven Scenic Wonders of Fall" and I knew what we would be doing next month!  We have been so blessed to serve as missionaries here and I can honestly say we have both grown to love the work we are doing.  It is so much more than just opening documents and taking pictures of them.  It has been an opportunity to meet so many wonderful people who lived and survived in this country when it was so much more wild than it is now.  When we go into so many of the old houses we are struck by the darkness and primitive features and yet they made the best of it with their family.  Each person I meet as I open up their documents I have grown to admire so much.  They were amazing!

Before I close today I wanted to note something.  My brother Bill was teased by his son because he didn't put paragraphs in his letters home and I smiled when I read that.  I want you to know that I suspect many of you have thought that I am a little overboard with my use of the exclamation point!  It is true that I am.  All I can say is I can't help myself--everything here and for that matter in my life is so exciting and it is the only way I have to express my joy!!!!!  I hope you will forgive me!  Have a great week.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Boston Temple

We had a chance to go back to Boston this morning so the Sister missionaries could go before transfers come up this weekend.  When we finished we were waiting outside and I took several pictures I thought I would share.
Hard to see but a flag pole is at the end of the walk

Bucket List

Today Sister McVey teased me about starting a "trunky bucket list" because we were talking about eating at different places when we get back in the west!  She then asked me if I had a bucket list of what I wanted to see when I got home.  I responded absolutely--there were 20 items on it with a grandchild's name on each of the lines!  This afternoon I got this picture from Angela of Caleb sleeping this morning while holding his new stuffed elephant and it is true--I do have a "trunky bucket list!"

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Next Lego Challenge!

You all did such a super job with your animal creations.  I was worried that it might be to hard but you all showed me you can design anything!  This month the challenge will be to make any design you want.  Can't wait to see what you decide to do.  All pictures need to be sent to Grandpa and I by September 1st.

Missionary Moments #50--Aug 16, 2015

Another great week has passed by and we had a unique experience in the archives.  There are times we have some big probate files but typically they involve using three or four folders to house all of the documents.  In prepping this week I opened up a group of records for a woman named Isabel J Gale and found one section devoted just to her but then I opened up the next box in the series to find the whole box were only her documents and then they continued into a third box.  Each box we do has three sections so you can see that is a lot of information for one person.  Once I had everything put into individual folders we had a total of 37 folders!  A new record for us.  We will begin taking the pictures of each document starting tomorrow.  If I remember next week I will tell you how many pictures we actually took to record all of her information!   Speaking of remembering I wanted to let you know we found out the mystery of the damaged documents.  I had mentioned earlier that either bugs or mice must have had a good time with a box of documents we were working on as much of the tops of each packets had been eaten away.  I asked the head of the archives about it and he explained it wasn't bugs or vermin that had damaged the documents but acid in the documents.  Apparently in the right conditions the acid in the paper will begin to dissolve the papers.  They spend a huge amount of money when we need new folders because they purchase only archival quality folders so damage like that doesn't occur anymore.

We decided to stay close to home yesterday because we are taking Tuesday morning off to take the Sister missionaries to the Boston Temple.  By 4 o'clock both of us were a little stir crazy!  We aren't used to sitting around waiting for the day to end. We ended up going down to Manchester so I could do some shopping at Hobby Lobby and then we finished off at our favorite place in Nashua--Chic-fil-a for dinner.  Turned into a nice Saturday after all!  

Apparently we are going to have some uncomfortable days starting today through Thursday when it gets into the 90s,  I am not complaining because the summer has been really nice and I think we actually have only had about 2 days all summer when it was in the low 90s. Perspective is everything!  Most of the time we don't turn on our air conditioner because it sounds like a big rig is driving through the apartment.  Instead we purchased two tower fans that we run and that has worked really well. Once the sun goes down the temperature drops into the 50s or 60s and it is lovely.    I read somewhere that in the Farmers Almanac they are saying this is going to be an extreme winter for many area and since everyone here told us last year it was the worst winter they had remembered in years I probably should be a little nervous!  We shall see.  I hope you are all getting back into the routine of school again.  It is hard to believe that summer is quickly coming to an end.  Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Bill and Betty

I was thinking about my parents this week because their anniversary was coming this weekend.  I am sure they are celebrating their anniversary in heaven!  73 years ago they were married in Phoenix, Arizona.  My mom was 17 years old and my dad was 18 and they had originally planned to elope to Yuma because my Grandpa Hickey was totally opposed to their marriage.  Not because he didn't like my dad, but because he thought my mom was to young.  My mom told her mom that they were going to elope.  She asked mom to wait until she talked to Grandpa.  Grandma went down to the fire station and told him what was going on and asked him to give them permission to be married so they could be there and see them married.  She must have been convincing because he agreed to allow the marriage to take place.  They were married in her parents living room on August 15, 1942.  The picture may give you the impression that they weren't happy about the wedding but they were and in spite of the ups and downs I always knew that they loved each other very much.  Dad wasn't always an easy person to be around but no one championed him more than she did.  I am so thankful to both of them.  Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Uncle David

I recently received an email from my brother Bill.  He told me a story about David that I wanted to share. David was the kind of person who was always surrounded by friends when we were young.  He kept our parents on their toes and I think he enjoyed that!  He has the most generous nature and would literally give the shirt off of his back if he saw someone who needed it.  Although he wasn't around our family much when our kids were growing up he was really close with Bill and Bev and their family.  They all adore him and rightly so. When Amy was born and he found out, he went to JC Penneys and I think he bought her every dress that was in the baby department.  He is just a sweet man.

Back to the email!  My brother wrote, "Ryan is the scoutmaster in his ward and last week he took 12 scouts and three adult leaders on a backpacking trip around King's Peak, the highest point in Utah.  Before they left for their hike I was concerned about one of the boys getting lost so I called and asked David if he would go to the BX and buy a couple of walkie talkies for the leader in the front and the leader in the back because there is no cell phone coverage in the back country.  David said he would.  A couple days later Ryan called and said they just got a package from Fed Ex.  It contained 16 walking talkies.  One for each boy and each leader.  The cost was over $800.00.  When I tried to pay David he wouldn't accept a cent."

As it turned out, one of the boys on the hike had to answer the call of nature.  While he was in the bushes his buddy scout left with the others.  When the scout got back to the trail everyone had vanished.  Ryan said there was a panicked call on the walkie-talkie, "Can anyone hear me?"  I was so glad to hear this story with such a happy ending!  My brother is awesome!
Left to right--Bill, Elaine, and David

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Christian and Amy

August 2000
Hard to believe that 15 years have passed since we celebrated your sealing in the Los Angeles Temple. You two have experienced some momentous events together and what I noticed is that those experiences have given you a strength and a commitment to each other that has served you well.  You have brought five wonderful children into the world and have given your best selves to each of them.  They and you will reap great rewards because of that.  I have great faith in you two!  Happy Anniversary!
April 2015

Sunday, August 9, 2015


Last weekend as we were driving towards Cooperstown, New York we came up over a hill and off to the right was a small farmhouse with a clothes line full of freshly hung laundry blowing in the wind.  I have kicked myself because I didn't pull over and take a picture of it.  That brief view brought so many memories flooding back into my mind.  A clothes line is a marvelous thing and much can be learned from the whole concept of hanging clothes out to dry.  My mother never had one until after I was married and my brothers bought one for her.  It actually stayed boxed up for quite a while because my dad didn't think it was necessary (needless to say he never did a lick of laundry in his life!).  I got my first dryer when we moved to Victorville when Amy was two.  Not because Scott didn't think I needed one--we just couldn't afford one before then.  I smile to think about how many diapers I hung out on the clothesline since disposable diapers were just starting to be used at that time (and we couldn't afford them either).

There is an art to hanging clothes and my mother taught me well.  She took great pride in how everything was hung and she taught me all of her tricks.  Underwear always went in middle for modesty with less personal items being hung around the outside of those.  Shirts were hung up side seam to side seam from the bottom of the shirt.  You always connected two items so that you didn't waste a clothespin.  Clothes were never thrown over the line they were carefully hung at the very edge of the item you were hanging.  The exception to that rule was sheets which were draped over the line so they wouldn't touch the ground or be pulled off by the wind.  Towels were hung by size meaning bath towels, hand towels, and wash rags.  When the clothes line was full of clothes I always thought it looks beautiful.  I still remember the wonderful feeling of a crisp sheet when I crawled into bed after laundry day.  I also loved the smell of a basket full of fresh dried clothes. Now I love the smell of Downy Fabric softener!  I have to admit I also liked towels dried in the dryer better than on the line.

Every clothes line in the neighborhood was put across the fence from the neighbors clothes line and my mom as well as many others used that time to catch up with their friends as they hung laundry or took it down. The clothes hanging also got me in a lot of trouble when I was about 8 or 9 years old.  My friend and I had been scolded by a grouchy lady who lived in a corner house by us. At that moment we began plotting our "revenge" which came down to a terrible decision.  She had hung her white sheets on the clothes line and we decided we would teach her not to scold us ever again by throwing handfuls of dirt all over her damp sheets. Needless to say we were caught, and to add insult to injury my friends mom used her fly swatter to spank her and then me!  Can you imagine.  I could take the punishment from my mom but didn't think she had the right to do that.  When I told my mom what had happened I expected her to go right across the alley to set that lady straight.  Didn't happen--instead she spanked me as well.  I was totally busted and learned an important lesson that I never forgot.  When you get punished once just pray that you mom doesn't find out because you will most likely get a second set of serious consequences!  Needless to say the sheets were rewashed by our moms and then folded up and returned.  We both stayed away from our grouchy neighbor from that day on.

The best memory will always be when my mom went to the clothes lines and began a conversation with our new neighbor who she eventually invited over for a cup of coffee.  She declined the coffee but instead brought a drink called "Postum".  Shortly after she came to visit, my dad came home early from work and sat down and began to visit with her as well.  One conversation lead to another and before the morning was over she offered to let my dad read the Book of Mormon and from that came stake missionaries.  As you have probably heard--the rest is history!

Missionary Moments #49--Aug 9, 2015

Another great week with good news at the end of it.  New folders were ordered and came in so we won't have a lag in our work as we had feared might happen.  It is exciting as we approach the completion of all the probate files for Rockingham County.  We are also quickly approaching our 20,000th probate file since we started in September.  It is true that time flies when you are having fun and for us that is exciting because once this adventure is completed we begin again back in California having more.  We are already talking about what we want to do when we are home again.  

I had a thought come to me this week as I was preparing documents.  Often in the documents there is an inventory of household goods along with property owned, and money left in accounts.  I was glancing over a list of items and one thing really hit me.  The person taking the inventory listed "old rocking chair--value nothing."  I thought to myself--no, the value is priceless.  I pictured mothers and fathers holding a child on their lap singing or whispering sweet thoughts.  I thought of evenings spent outside on the porch rocking back and forth reminiscing about the day.  I thought of the old grandparents who were spent and now just quietly rocked back and forth reliving those precious memories they made over a life time.  Doing this work has really helped me to see many glimpses into the lives of people who spent their life making memories (some good and probably some not) and in the end what truly mattered was what couldn't be taken away and that is memories and knowledge gained while we approach another part of our journey ahead.  They say "one mans trash is another mans treasure" and when it comes to our journey while here we each must decide which is which.

Yesterday we drove down to Massachusetts to visit Walden Pond.  It is the second time we have been there and again the park was closed because the parking lots were full.  In the end I dropped Scott off along the side of the road and he walked over and took a few pictures of the area.  I just have to say that Henry David Thoreau obviously didn't come from the desert because if he had he would have called it Waldens Lake.  I am fascinated with all of the rivers, lakes, and streams around here--It is glorious!  Have a great week! 

Andy and Angela

August 1996
I have learned much from my children and their spouses. Good marriages are worth everything and each of you have done such a good job of being married.  I still remember seeing you two together for the first time--it was magical! You have both brought out the very best in each other and what started in the Los Angeles Temple 19 years ago was definitely a match made in heaven.  Happy Anniversary!
Family Picture 2012

Friday, August 7, 2015

More Names!

It has been a while but I have been collecting some interest names in the probates files since the 1900s.

                   Claribelle, Luseba, Waita, Phosa, Zelinda, Brackett, Calverna, Remerie,
                    Ithama, Gesine, Alpha, and Almander

What do you think?  I found a last name that I also liked.  It was Amen!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Cooperstown, New York

It was so interesting to see how different New York was from New Hampshire.  Many more rolling hills and less dense trees.  Beautiful but different.  Cooperstown was such a cute town with a main street that will be one of my favorites.  We walked up and down the area enjoying quaint shops, restaurants, an old fashioned dime store and beautiful plants and flowers.  Before leaving town we had a nice lunch at the Pioneer Cafe which was down an alley.  We came into town in one direction and left going down a different road which ran along a huge lake right by Cooperstown.  From there we drove through much of Massachusetts and then up into New Hampshire.  It was a beautiful trip!
Cooperstown Main Street

Built in 1882

Another Classic Building

Lunch at the Pioneer Cafe

Batter Up!

You may think--why would we want to see the National Baseball Hall of Fame Museum.  I couldn't have given you an answer before--except that we are in Boston Red Sox country.  Now that we have had the wonderful experience I know why.  It was so full of history and also of wonderful memories of summer baseball in our neighborhoods, at the school ball fields, and around the TV when we were young.  It began long before there was instant replays, color televisions, or big screens.  It was in the grandstand where the people in the neighborhood gathered to visit with each other and cheer on the ball players even when they didn't know them.

We visited the areas where the great legendary baseball announcers were recognized, entered the locker rooms where some of the original uniforms were on display. We enjoyed the lives and legends of Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron among other great ball players. We saw the Hall of Fame gallery where ball players beginning in the 1930s were recognized for their contribution to the game.

For both of us the short movie we watched truly reminded us of how much fun a good baseball game could be and we both sang loud and proud "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" at the end of the movie.  If you come this way be sure to add the Baseball Hall of Fame Museum in Cooperstown, NY to your bucket list. You won't be disappointed!
Some of the Baseball Greats

Scott's Favorite Team--The Cardinals

One of the Many Murals

What do you think about this Meg?

Bennington Vermont

When you get into Bennington you start noticing a big monument.  We did a little side trip and found the Bennington Battle Monument.  It is 301 feet high and is made of stone.  It commemorates the battle of Bennington during the revolutionary war.  In August of 1777 New Hampshire and Vermont soldiers battled the British who were trying capture the food and a store of weapons which were being kept there.  We won! About 200 feet up in the obelisk you can see out over the surrounding area.  Although the monument is about 10 miles away from the actual battlefield it is very close to where Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain boys planned the attack on Fort Ticonderoga in 1775.  So much history!

Moose Spotting!

According to the signs scattered around the area we have a possibility of seeing but hopefully not running into a moose.  So far we have had neither experience--bad for seeing/good for not running into one!  On a recent trip we did spot a few moose which may be the extent of our experience with moose hunting.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Grandkids Gifts--Margaret Joy

Since so much of Meggie's joy comes from her dancing I was going to put a picture of her in her ballet outfit but I decided that although this picture is a few years old it captures Meg's beauty in many ways.  I believe Meg has the gift of contentment.  She always seems content with her choices and doesn't rely on others to be validated.  I have watched with interest when everyone is going in different directions and she stays in once place!  She has the ability to be involved but is comfortable entertaining herself when something is of no interest to her. Being a ballerina requires a commitment to exactness, a focus on the moment, and ability to work through discomfort at times.  In the end what she finds is a contentment because she accomplished an incredible glimpse of what she is becoming.